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Carolinas of Bilbao. Delicious Basque sweet

Carolinas of Bilbao. Delicious Basque sweet

people icon For 10 euro icon € 0.97 /pers. calories icon 302 kcal/100g


  • For the base: 1 sheet of rectangular puff pastry
  • 20g. of butter
  • 30g. of sugar
  • 1 egg M
  • 30g. all-purpose wheat flour
  • 125 ml whole milk
  • Ground cinnamon
  • For the Italian meringue: 150 g of sugar
  • 40 ml of water
  • 55 g egg white (at room temperature)
  • For the yolk and chocolate topping: 1 yolk (weigh the yolk)
  • sugar (the same grams that the yolk weighs)
  • 100 g dark chocolate for desserts

How to make Carolinas de Bilbao .

Carolinas are traditional sweets from Bilbao and there is no self-respecting pastry shop in the city that does not have them in its window . It is a cake with a puff pastry base filled with pastry cream , covered with Italian meringue and decorated with yolk cream and chocolate . Well, great on a visual level and delicious when you try them.

The Carolina de Bilbao is a sight to behold, because of how beautiful it is, but it is also a sight to behold for the palate. Especially for the palates of those with a sweet tooth.

As we have been able to verify in various sources, to find the origin of the Carolinas we have to go back more than a century. The story goes that this cake was created by a pastry chef from Bilbao in his desire to surprise his daughter with a special dessert on her birthday.

The artisan decided that the meringue should be the protagonist, as it was the girl’s favorite sweet, and decided to assemble it on a base of thin puff pastry filled with pastry cream to make it easier to eat. Finally, to finish off the cake he decided to decorate it with a sheet of egg on one side and another sheet of chocolate on the other. This sweet was named after her sweet-toothed daughter, who, as expected, was called Carolina.

Since then, it has become present in Bilbao pastry shops and its demand is such that some of them make more than 140 Carolinas a day. Those who are lucky enough to live in Bilbao or are visiting will be able to enjoy them in situ. But it is not our case and we cannot resign ourselves to not eating them, so we have made them at home and we hope that you also dare. They are laborious, not difficult, but they are worth the effort because it is delicious.

Preparation of the bases of the Carolinas of Bilbao

  1. Grease the cavities of a tartlet tray with a pinch of butter, making sure to use as little as possible but covering the entire surface well.
  2. Sprinkle each cavity with a little flour and shake so that the entire surface is covered. We remove the excess by turning the tray over and gently tapping it so that the excess falls out.
  3. We stretch the puff pastry sheet over the paper in which it is wrapped and cut 10 circles. We use a pastry cutter with a diameter slightly larger than the cavities of the tray.
  4. We place the puff pastry discs inside the cavities, adjusting well to the bottom and walls. Prick the base lightly with a fork. We reserve.
  5. We prepare the pastry cream for the filling, which will be baked in the oven together with the puff pastry. To do this, we mix the butter with the sugar in a deep container and add the egg. Stir until well incorporated before adding the flour twice, stirring again until combined. Finally we add the milk, also in two batches, and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
  6. We fill the puff pastries with the cream mixture, without reaching the edge, and bake in the oven, preheated to 160ºC, for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before unmolding.

Preparation of Italian meringue

  1. We are going to prepare the famous Italian meringue that the Carolinas have. In a small saucepan, mix the syrup with the sugar and bring it to a simmer at a low temperature.
  2. It is not necessary to stir the syrup, but it is important to keep the sides of the saucepan clean to prevent sugar crystals from forming. We will do this with a wet silicone brush.
  3. We need a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature of the syrup, since we want it to reach the fine strand point (118ºC). Once ready, remove from the heat and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites in a clean, dry container without letting them become too firm. We slowly add the syrup in the form of a thread while we continue assembling the meringue and beat until it has cooled to 40º C. We fill a pastry bag with a large round nozzle and set aside while we prepare the toppings.

Preparation of coverage

  1. We start with the chocolate coating, which we chop and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds until completely melted, stirring between heat strokes.
  2. To cover the sweet yolk, mix the yolk with the sugar in a small saucepan and heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the yolk has thickened slightly. We remove from the heat and let it rest for a minute before using.

Assembly of the Carolinas of Bilba or

  1. We decorate the puff pastry and pastry cream bases with the Italian meringue. To ensure a good peak, which is the characteristic of these cakes, we make a first base that covers the surface and then we draw a spiral with the meringue while ascending with the piping bag. Next we draw the yellow and brown stripes with the yolk and chocolate toppings.
  2. We take a small amount of the sweet yolk with a brush and let it fall from the tip to the end. We do the same on the opposite side. We carry out the process with all the Carolinas.
  3. To make the chocolate stripes we proceed in the same way as with the yolk candy. For the white part that remains and its parallel part, with the help of a brush we take a small amount of chocolate and let it fall from the tip to the end. We repeat the operation with the rest of the Carolinas. Once the Carolinas are ready, we keep them in the refrigerator until ready to consume.

Follow this recipe from Carolinas de Bilbao step by step in the album.

Tips and recommendations for delicious Carolinas de Bilbao

  • Any dessert is better with homemade puff pastry , but when there is a need to save time we can replace it with industrial puff pastry. In the case of Carolinas de Bilbao, the better the quality of the puff pastry, the better the result.
  • Although it is not strictly necessary, since cooking the puff pastry and the pastry cream at the same time gives good results, there are those who bake the puff pastry base first for 10 minutes to give it an extra crunch. Then fill the puff pastry bases and bake again for another 10 minutes.
  • When the bases are ready, you can sprinkle them with a little sugar and caramelize the surface with a blowtorch or under the grill. A crunchy caramel layer is created that gives it a very interesting touch of texture.
  • It is important not to overdo the microwave time when melting the chocolate, so that it does not burn. If we don’t want to risk it, we can always use a bain-marie and place the container with the chopped chocolate over a saucepan with hot water. The steam will melt it slowly and gently.
  • We can lighten the chocolate coating by adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil , so it will be more fluid and will slide more easily over the meringue when we decorate the Carolinas.
  • The same applies to the topping of the yolk candy. If it is too thick, we can thin it by adding a small amount of water and stirring well until integrated.

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